Thursday, May 17, 2018

Chick Corea-"Leprechaun's Dream".

It's said that classical is composers' music, jazz players'. And there is a fair amount of truth to this. But what do you do with jazz people who are both brilliant soloists and equally brilliant composer/arrangers? If you're John Ephland, the critic who wrote the CD review of Corea's 1976 album "The Leprechaun", you don't know what to do, and call an album with an excellent balance of great writing and playing "almost over-arranged".

All right, I'll acknowledge my own bias here, and say that a large part of the reason jazz lost its place in the popular music hierarchy was its de-emphasis of arrangements that non-initiates can latch on to. If you listened to the Ellington band in its heyday, at first you might not have understood what the soloists were doing, but you surely could dig Duke (and Billy Strayhorn)'s great writing. That was my own route into jazz-the big bands of Count Basie and Maynard Ferguson, Buddy Rich and Toshiko Akiyoshi, and more. It was a while before I got what Coltrane was doing!

This particular cut is the logical culmination of Chick's whimsical journey into a Irish musical  fairyland. (Pretty good for an Italian guy from Boston). It features a clever integration of brass, string quartet,  tasteful electronics, and Gayle Moran's wordless vocals with strong solos from Chick and reedman Joe Farrell. A delight.

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